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VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN:Ending the Silence
 
Highlighting the extraordinary strength of women who survive sexual assault, institutional disregard, domestic violence and more, these films break the historical silence that has often surrounded issues of violence against women. Inspiring and eye-opening, this collection includes AFTER THE RAPE, about a Pakistani woman who fought a tribal council's order that she be gang-raped as punishment for a crime she didn't commit; SIN BY SILENCE, which examines a women's domestic violence support group - from inside prison walls; Sundance award-winner THE GREATEST SILENCE: RAPE IN THE CONGO; the critically acclaimed SISTERS IN LAW; Academy-Award Nominee GOD SLEEPS IN RWANDA, and more.

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films in this collection

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After the Rape
The Mukhtar Mai Story

A film by Catherine Ulmer

In 2002, Mukhtar Mai, a rural Pakistani woman from a remote part of the Punjab, was gang-raped by order of her tribal council as punishment for her younger brother’s alleged relationship with a woman from another clan. Instead of committing suicide or living in shame, Mukhtar spoke out, fighting for justice in the Pakistani courts—making world headlines. Further defying custom, she started two schools for girls in her village and a crisis center for abused women. Mukhtar, who had never learned to read but knew the Koran by heart, realized that only a change in mentality could break brutal, archaic traditions and social codes. Her story, included in the bestseller “Half the Sky” by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, and the subject of Mukhtar’s own memoir, “In the Name of Honor”, has inspired women across the globe. More


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Breaking the Rule of Thumb
A film by Andrea K. Elovson

Combining powerful interviews with documentary footage, this timely and compelling film takes a comprehensive look at the issues still confronting battered women twenty years after the beginning of the domestic violence movement. Featuring the stories of three women - one a police officer - who went through the Philadelphia family courts to ensure their safety, BREAKING THE RULE OF THUMB examines contemporary domestic violence in terms of changing historical definitions of abuse. Incorporating individual stories into a strong argument for legal reform, filmmaker Andrea Elovson exposes how domestic violence's seemingly personal gender issues are inextricably tied to flawed ideas of civil justice. More


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Calling the Ghosts
A Story about Rape, War and Women

Executive Producer: Julia Ormond
Directed by Mandy Jacobson and Karmen Jelincic


An extraordinarily powerful documentary, CALLING THE GHOSTS is the first-person account of two women caught in a war where rape was as much an everyday weapon as bullets or bombs. Jadranka Cigelj and Nusreta Sivac, childhood friends and lawyers, enjoyed the lives of "ordinary modern women" in Bosnia-Herzegovina until one day former neighbors became tormentors. Taken to the notorious Serb concentration camp of Omarska, the two women, like other Muslim and Croat women interned there, were systematically tortured and humiliated by their Serb captors. More


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The Children We Sacrifice
A film by Grace Poore

Shot in India, Sri Lanka, Canada and the United States, and screened in 18 countries, this evocative, visually powerful documentary is about incestuous sexual abuse of the South Asian girl child. By interweaving survivors' narratives, including the producer's own story, with interviews with South Asian mental health professionals, and with statistical information, as well as poetry and art, THE CHILDREN WE SACRIFICE discloses the many layers of a subject traditionally shrouded in secrecy. Insights into the far-reaching psychological, social and cultural consequences of incest are accompanied by thoughtful assessments of strategies that have helped adult women cope with childhood trauma. More

2000 Rosebud Award
2001 Creating a Voice Award

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The Day You Love Me
El Dia Que Me Quieras

A film by Florence Jaugey

A close-up look at the varieties and complexities of domestic violence, THE DAY YOU LOVE ME takes us into the daily life of policewomen and social workers in one of the Police Commissaries for Women and Children in Nicaragua's capital city of Managua. Women of different ages, as well as children and young adults, come there seeking help against abusive husbands, lovers and parents. They also talk freely about their experiences and their sometimes conflicting desires for change. The men in their lives come to the station to respond to the charges against them by defending themselves, justifying their actions, arguing their own grievances, or even admitting their wrongs. More


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Fighting the Silence
Sexual Violence against Women in the Congo

A film by Femke & Ilse van Velzen

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s seven year war was the deadliest ever recorded in Africa. During that time, more than 80,000 women and girls were raped. Only now that the country is formally at peace are the consequences of the brutality becoming truly visible. Rape is slowly seeping into everyday life. More


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Finding Dawn
A film by Christine Welsh

FINDING DAWN puts a human face on a tragedy that has received precious little attention – and one which is surprisingly similar to the situation in Ciudad Juarez, on the other side of the U.S. border. Dawn Crey, Ramona Wilson and Daleen Kay Bosse are just three of the estimated 500 Aboriginal women who have gone missing or been murdered in Canada over the past 30 years. Acclaimed Métis filmmaker Christine Welsh embarks on an epic journey to shed light on these murders and disappearances that remain unresolved to this day. She begins at Vancouver’s skid row where more than 60 poor women disappeared and travels to the “Highway of Tears” in northern British Columbia where more than two dozen women (all but one Native) have vanished. More

Amnesty Int’l FF Vancouver, Gold Audience Award

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God Sleeps in Rwanda
A film by Kimberlee Acquaro and Stacy Sherman, Narrated by Rosario Dawson

Uncovering amazing stories of hope in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, Academy Award-Nominee GOD SLEEPS IN RWANDA captures the spirit of five courageous women as they rebuild their lives, redefine women’s roles in Rwandan society and bring hope to a wounded nation. More

Emmy Award for Best Documentary
Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Short

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The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo
A film by Lisa F. Jackson

Winner of the Sundance Special Jury Prize in Documentary and the inspiration for a 2008 U.N. Resolution classifying rape as a weapon of war, this extraordinary film, shot in the war zones of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), shatters the silence that surrounds the use of sexual violence as a weapon of conflict. Many tens of thousands of women and girls have been systematically kidnapped, raped, mutilated and tortured by soldiers from both foreign militias and the Congolese army. A survivor of gang rape herself, Emmy Award®-winning filmmaker Lisa F. Jackson travels through the DRC to understand what is happening and why. More

Sundance Film Festival, Special Jury Prize: Documentary
Gracie Award, Outstanding Documentary - Long Format

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Honoring Our Voices
A film by Judi Jeffrey

Sharing their stories about recovery and healing, six Native women of different ages and backgrounds talk about the choices they have made to overcome the hardships of family violence and end the cycle of abuse and silence. Through the far-reaching changes in their lives, they reveal the rewards of empowering themselves and their families, as well as the strengths of counseling based in Native healing strategies and traditions. Directed by Judi Jeffrey (Metis) and produced by the Native Counselling Services of Alberta, this thought-provoking documentary is a valuable tool for education, prevention and intervention. More


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In the Name of the Family
Honor Killings in North America

A Film by Shelley Saywell

Schoolgirl Aqsa Parvez, sisters Amina and Sarah Said, and college student Fauzia Muhammad were all North American teenagers—and victims of premeditated, murderous attacks by male family members. Only Muhammad survived. Emmy® winner Shelley Saywell examines each case in depth in this riveting investigation of "honor killings" of girls in Muslim immigrant families. Not sanctioned by Islam, the brutalization and violence against young women for defying male authority derives from ancient tribal notions of honor and family shame. More


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Invoking Justice
A film by Deepa Dhanraj

In Southern India, family disputes are settled by Jamaats—all male bodies which apply Islamic Sharia law to cases without allowing women to be present, even to defend themselves. Recognizing this fundamental inequity, a group of women in 2004 established a women’s Jamaat, which soon became a network of 12,000 members spread over 12 districts. Despite enormous resistance, they have been able to settle more than 8,000 cases to date, ranging from divorce to wife beating to brutal murders and more. Award-winning filmmaker Deepa Dhanraj (SOMETHING LIKE A WAR) follows several cases, shining a light on how the women’s Jamaat has acquired power through both communal education and the leaders’ persistent, tenacious and compassionate investigation of the crimes. More


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Justice for Sale
A film by Femke & Ilse van Velzen

JUSTICE FOR SALE follows the young, courageous Congolese human rights lawyer Claudine Tsongo who refuses to accept that justice is indeed “For Sale” in her country. When she investigates the case of a soldier convicted of rape, she becomes convinced his trial was unfair and uncovers a system where the basic principles of law are ignored—and when the system fails, everyone becomes a victim. The documentary not only provides a glimpse into the failings of the Congolese judicial system but also raises questions about the role of the international community and non-governmental organizations in reforming it. Does their financial support cause justice to be for sale? And who pays the price? More

The International Film Festival in Burundi, Best Documentary
Rwanda Film Festival, Silverback Award, Best Documentary

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Love, Honour & Disobey
A film by Faction Films, Directed by Saeeda Khanum

Domestic violence in all forms—from physical abuse to forced marriages to honour killings—continues to be frighteningly common worldwide and accepted as “normal” within too many societies. Getting to the heart of current multicultural debates, LOVE, HONOUR, & DISOBEY reveals the issues around domestic violence in Britain’s black and ethnic minority communities through the eyes of the Southall Black Sisters, a small group of women who have been working to combat abuse for more than 25 years. More


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Macho
A film by Lucinda Broadbent

In 1998, Managua, Nicaragua became host to one of the most publicized and controversial cases of sexual abuse to hit modern day Latin America. At the epicenter of the scandal stood none other than Nicaraguan Sandinista leader and ex-President Daniel Ortega. Revered as a revolutionary hero and symbol of military strength, Ortega was accused on multiple charges of rape and battery by his stepdaughter, Soilamerica Narvaez. Despite Ortega's eventual acquittall--he was granted immunity from prosecution as a member of the legislature--a group of pioneering men rallied around the episode to organize a radical campaign against domestic violence and sexual abuse. Their efforts eventually led to the formation of the internationally acclaimed organization, Men Against Violence. More


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Mrs. Goundo's Daughter
A film by Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater

Mrs. Goundo is fighting to remain in the United States. But it’s not just because of the ethnic conflict and drought that has plagued her native Mali. Threatened with deportation, her two-year-old daughter could be forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), like 85 percent of women and girls in Mali. Using rarely cited grounds for political asylum, Goundo must convince an immigration judge that her daughter is in danger. More

Winner, Best Social Documentary, 2011 Addis International Film Festival

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Pink Saris
A film by Kim Longinotto

“A girl’s life is cruel...A woman’s life is very cruel,” notes Sampat Pal, the complex protagonist at the center of PINK SARIS, internationally acclaimed director Kim Longinotto’s latest foray into the lives of extraordinary women (SISTERS IN LAW, DIVORCE IRANIAN STYLE, ROUGH AUNTIES). Sampat should know – like many others she was married as a young girl into a family which made her work hard and beat her often. But unusually, she fought back, leaving her in-laws and eventually becoming famous as a champion for beleaguered women throughout Uttar Pradesh, many of whom find their way to her doorstep. Like Rekha, a fourteen year old Untouchable, who is three months pregnant and homeless – unable to marry her unborn child’s father because of her low caste. Fifteen year old Renu's husband from an arranged marriage has abandoned her, her father-in-law has been raping her and she's threatening to throw herself under a train. Both young women, frightened and desperate, reach out for their only hope: Sampat Pal and her Gulabi Gang, Northern India’s women vigilantes in pink. More

Sheffield Doc Fest, Special Jury Prize
Abu Dhabi Int'l Film Festival, Best Documentary

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The Price of Sex
A film by Mimi Chakarova

An unprecedented and compelling inquiry, THE PRICE OF SEX sheds light on the underground criminal network of human trafficking and experiences of trafficked Eastern European women forced into prostitution abroad. Photojournalist Mimi Chakarova’s feature documentary caps years of painstaking, on-the-ground reporting that aired on Frontline (PBS) and 60 Minutes (CBS) and earned her an Emmy nomination, Magnum photo agency’s Inge Morath Award, and a Webby for Internet excellence. More

Winner of the 2011 Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting
2012 American Library Association Notable Videos for Adults List

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Quest for Honor
A film by Mary Ann Smothers Bruni

A searing and necessary documentary, QUEST FOR HONOR, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was shortlisted for an Academy® Award nomination for Feature Documentary, investigates the still prevalent practice of honor killing in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. The alarming rise in the heinous act of men killing daughters, sisters and wives who threaten “family honor,” endangers tens of thousands of women in Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and adjoining countries. The Women’s Media Center of Suleymaniyah, Iraq, has joined forces with Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) to end this practice. More


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Rule of Thumb
Order of Protection

A film by Jill Evans Petzall

A sensitive video which explores domestic violence through the perspective of women who have left abusive relationships. Five women from different backgrounds discuss their ordeals and the concrete steps they have taken to eradicate fear and violence from their daily lives. Supplemented by testimonies from a woman judge, a police officer and a former abuser, this empowering tape offers clear, concise instructions on obtaining an order of protection and other support services. More


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Sarabah
A film by Maria Luisa Gambale & Gloria Bremer, Executive Produced by Steven Lawrence

Rapper, singer and activist, Sister Fa is hero to young women in Senegal and an unstoppable force for social change. A childhood victim of female genital cutting (FGC), she decided to tackle the issue by starting a grassroots campaign, “Education Without Excision,” which uses her music and persuasive powers to end the practice. But until 2010 there’s one place she had never brought her message – back home to her own village of Thionck Essyl, where she fears rejection. SARABAH follows Sister Fa on this challenging journey, where she speaks out passionately to female elders and students alike, and stages a rousing concert that has the community on its feet. More

WINNER Cine Golden Eagle
Movies That Matter Film Festival, Winner, Golden Butterfly Award

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Señorita Extraviada, Missing Young Woman
A film by Lourdes Portillo

SENORITA EXTRAVIADA, MISSING YOUNG WOMAN tells the haunting story of the more than 350 kidnapped, raped and murdered young women of Juárez, Mexico. Visually poetic, yet unflinching in its gaze, this compelling investigation unravels the layers of complicity that have allowed for the brutal murders of women living along the Mexico-U.S. border. In the midst of Juárez’s international mystique and high profile job market, there exists a murky history of grossly underreported human rights abuses and violence against women. The climate of violence and impunity continues to grow, and the murders of women continue to this day. More

Sundance Film Festival - Special Jury Prize
Academy of C.A.S.-Mx.- Ariel, Best Mexican Doc.

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Sin by Silence
A film by Olivia Klaus

From behind prison walls, a group of extraordinary women are shattering misconceptions of domestic violence. An important film that profiles Convicted Women Against Abuse (CWAA), the US prison system’s first inmate initiated group and led by women, SIN BY SILENCE is an essential resource featuring more than two hours of bonus materials, including interviews with experts on abusive relationships, law enforcement leaders and leaders in faith-based communities about domestic violence, and more. More

Winner of the 2011 ALA “Notable Video for Adults”
Sacramento Film and Music Festival, Audience Award for Best Documentary

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Sisters in Law
A film by Kim Longinotto, Co-directed by Florence Ayisi

Winner of the Prix Art et Essai at the Cannes Film Festival and screened to acclaim at more than 120 festivals around the world, SISTERS IN LAW is the bestselling documentary from internationally renowned director Kim Longinotto, co-directed by Florence Ayisi. More

Peabody Award
Cannes Film Festival, Prix Art et Essai

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3 Times Divorced
A film by Ibtisam Salh Mara'ana

How does a Palestinian woman in Israel survive an abusive husband? When Gaza-born Khitam’s abusive Arab Israeli husband divorces her and gains custody of her six children, she suddenly finds herself fighting two heart-breaking battles: against the Sharia Muslim court to get her children back, and against the state of Israel, which considers her an illegal resident and denies her protection in a shelter for battered women. More

Doc Aviv Film Festival, Best Israeli Documentary
FIPA-Biarritz, FIPA D'ARGENT Special Prize

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Voices Heard Sisters Unseen
A film by Grace Poore

VOICES HEARD SISTERS UNSEEN is a powerful and inspirational film showing how survivors of domestic violence are working to change the way the system treats battered women in search of justice and safety. Interviews, poetry, dance and music combine to present a feminist analysis about how courts, police and social services 're-victimize' battered women who are deaf, disabled, lesbians, prostitutes, HIV-positive or without official immigrant status. VOICES HEARD SISTERS UNSEEN is an important call for multi-issue activism and an integrated response to services for battered women. More


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War Takes
A film by Adelaida Trujillo and Patricia Castaño

With conflicts raging on nearly every continent, war now regularly transcends the battlefield into everyday life - whether its increased security at airports or infringements on personal privacy. In WAR TAKES, Colombian filmmakers Adelaida Trujillo and Patricia Castaño turn the cameras on themselves to portray the tough realities of civil life in the violent, war-ravaged country of Colombia. Partners in an independent media company, they struggle to balance their family, business and political lives: reporting from dangerous parts of the country; managing their company as the economic situation worsens; parenting young children amid threats of violence and kidnapping; and rethinking their political views as war moves closer to the city. More


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Weapon of War
A film by Femke & Ilse van Velzen

In no other country has sexual violence matched the scale of brutality reached in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). During nearly two decades of conflicts between rebels and government forces, an estimated 150,000 Congolese women and girls fell victim to mass rape. That figure continues to rise. More




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Equity in Education


The films in this essential collection inspire social change in education. Learn about the role and impact of Title IX, examine gender disparities in math and science, and follow the personal story of an insightful high-school student whose life has been shaped by busing and school integration. See the full collection here.

Behind the Lens:
Women in Cinema

This extraordinary collection features titles that celebrate the lives and achievements of immigrants in the U.S. and explore ongoing struggles of immigrants today.

Shooting Women

As directors, producers, actors, and screenwriters, women have utilized the power of film to create and transform their stories and images. From sexual politics as a cinematic subject in SUFFRAGETTES IN THE SILENT CINEMA and as a cinematographic choice in FILMING DESIRE to interviews with women directors around the globe in SHOOTING WOMEN and SISTERS OF THE SCREEN, this collection presents a look at women’s crucial contributions to cinema’s history and global reach.


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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us